The Stars of Central Park
The New York City carriage horses are some of the world’s most famous and beloved equines. Whether you take a ride or enjoy the sight of carriage horses in and around Central Park, our horses have been delighting visitors and New Yorkers for more than 150 years. The best way to get to know one of our amazing carriage horses is to take a ride.
Meet Our Horses
Most New York City carriage horses are draft horses or draft horse crosses. We have Belgians, Percherons, and even some retired Standardbred racehorses. Our horses are part of the family, and work with us in Central Park for many years. When our horses retire, we find them retirement homes or they can be adopted through the carriage horse retirement program at Blue Star Equiculture.
21st Century Horse Care in Midtown Manhattan
CARRIAGE HORSES IN NEW YORK CITY BENEFIT FROM THE LATEST AND GREATEST IN HORSE CARE.
All NYC carriage horses receive preventive veterinary care. Unlike other horses who only see the vet when they are sick, NYC carriage horses see the vet mostly when they are healthy! By law, NYC carriage horses are required to receive a full veterinary health exam twice a year. They also must see the vet before going on vacation and upon their return. Therefore, every carriage horse will be examined by a licensed veterinarian at least two – but usually four – times a year. This level of veterinary care and scrutiny is unsurpassed except by high-level equestrian sports. When, on rare occasions, horses get sick, they are treated by veterinarians with decades of experience, and are even sometimes referred to and treated by specialists at Cornell University and other top equine hospitals.
NYC carriage horses, although they live in 19th- and early 20th- century buildings originally built to house horses, live in stables that have all the “modern” conveniences. All NYC carriage horses now live in box stalls, which allow the horses to turn around and lie down comfortably. Most stables have state of the art automatic waterers, providing unlimited access to water while the horses are at home. Traditional ventilation from lots of windows on multiple sides of the stables has been updated with new ventilation systems, including exhaust fans, circulating fans, and even a misting system, which can lower the temperature of the 52nd St. stables by 10 or 15 degrees below ambient temperature in the summertime.
All NYC carriage stables are equipped with high-volume sprinkler systems, which are all up to code and are inspected regularly. Carriage horses enjoy a far greater level of fire protection than almost any other horses in the country; even the most elite show horse barns usually do not have sprinkler systems. The NYFD can be at any of our stables in a matter of minutes.
Today’s modern carriages, while based on 19th century predecessors, have bodies made of lightweight fiberglass, rubber tires on ball-bearing wheels, new reflective materials, and either incandescent or LED lighting for night driving.
The Most Protective Horse Laws in the Country
THE CARRIAGE HORSES OF NYC ARE PROTECTED BY SOME OF THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE EQUINE ORDINANCES IN THE UNITED STATES.
By law, carriage horses have restricted working hours. They may not work more than 9 hours in any 24-hour period, and may not work for more than 2 hours straight without a 15-minute break.
By law, carriage horses are prohibited from working in adverse, extreme or dangerous weather. Carriage horses may not work in temperatures above 89 degrees or below 19 degrees, and must return to their stables when the temperature exceeds these limits. Carriage work may also be suspended during blizzards, storms or torrential downpours. Further, carriage horses are required to wear rain sheets in rainy weather below 55 degrees and horse blankets while waiting in the stands when it’s below 40 degrees.
Carriage horses all have box stalls at least 60 sq. feet, most of which are significantly larger.
All carriage horses take a mandatory minimum 5-week vacation outside the city, where they must have daily access to pasture.
It takes four licenses to offer a single carriage ride in Central Park: the driver must be tested and licensed by DCA, the carriage must be inspected and licensed by DCA, the horse must be inspected and licensed by the DOH, and the stables must be licensed by the DOH and DCA.